The Smallest Things: Part One


When I decided that I wanted to write about my Grandma Betty, I decided that I wanted to write with so much detail and description that people, who didn’t know her, could feel like she was their grandma too.  I wanted to put everything that I remembered about her down on paper so I wouldn’t forget (I wish I had done this years before).  Because there were so many memories and moments I had of her and with her, I made a web before I even started to write so that I would have tons of writing topics immediately at my fingertips.  As I was making the web (its huge and I have gone back multiple times to add more memories) I wondered if I should write about the super small things.  Small things that I wondered even if mattered in the big picture, or to others.  But then I thought, “of course it matters!  The small things really truly made my Grandma Betty who she was.”  So here goes, the small things…

Bird feeders.  Always two and always filled with seed.  But “damn those squirrels,” as my grandma would say.

To my grandma, nothing was better than sitting on the back porch and watching the birds.  She would sit there for hours, in silence, and man was she content.  She knew all of the types that showed up and even had names for a few.  She especially loved the red cardinal.  As most people know, male and female cardinals are actually different colors.  The red begin the male and the female is a brown with light red intertwined.  My grandma loved how the male always came first, checked for danger, and then called the female when the coast was clear.  Sometimes I think she wished she could grow wings and fly with them.

There were two things Grandma Betty hated though when it came to bird watching.

  1. Squirrels (because of the bird feeder was attached to the railing of the porch, squirrels would always get into the feeder and eat all of the seed.  To combat this problem, Grandma Betty brought a feeder that would close if something too heavy stepped onto a lever)
  2. Noise (if you came over to Grandma Bettys cottage and disturbed the birds when she was on the porch you better have had your riot gear on because my grandma brought the hurt)

Some days, when I was older and could sit quietly for longer periods of time, I would join her.  We would sit together in silence, enjoying the sun warming our skin, and smiling at the peace of that moment in time. 

I am so lucky that the silence meant so much.

9 thoughts on “The Smallest Things: Part One

  1. Mallory, All of your pieces are written so beautifully. I do feel as if I know your grandma Betty. I feel like I’m there with you in your memories. It also brings me back to memories of my grandparents. Some memories similar and some with similar characteristics. When a writer brings the reader into their lives but also causes them to reflect on their own….to me, they are great writers. You are a great writer!

  2. As I read your piece I felt like I had just met your Grandma Betty. It reminded me of my Grandpa Wagley. He always had a half a stick of Wrigley’s spearmint gum for me. I got half and he got half. That small memory is precious.

  3. The small things aren’t so small, Mallory. We’re only on day 10 and you’ve succeeded as a writer – I love your Grandma Betty and wish I would have known her.

    The ending line to this piece is super powerful. Made me cry.

  4. I know I’ve written this before but you are describing Grandma Betty so well, she could be my grandma! I am enjoying hearing daily revelations about how this special lady has affected your life…thank you for sharing these stories.

  5. Mallory, this post reminds me of the quote,

    “Watch your thoughts, for they become words.
    Watch your words, for they become actions.
    Watch your actions, for they become habits.
    Watch your habits, for they become character.
    Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”

    The “small,” indiosyncracies, gestures of a person speak volumes of their character. Your grandmother’s devotion to her birds and appreciation of the silence, reflect values of loyalty and patience. She seems wonderful. 🙂

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